Tomorrow morning, Karyn and I fly to Mexico City and then to Lima and then to Cusco. We’ll stumble off the airplane at 11,000 feet and be greeted by a driver holding a sign with our names on it. An hour and a half later, we’ll arrive by van at Sach’a Munay, our home for the first ten days we’re in the Sacred Valley. Karyn and I are flying in early to acclimate and to meet our True Nature tour guide, Brenda. Brenda will introduce us to the Sacred Valley and the three of us will get everything in readiness to welcome 18 travelers—arriving from all over—next week. Brenda will be our guide to Peru. Karyn will teach the yoga and I’ll be the writing instructor. I love being part of a team. But even though my bags are already packed, even though I’ve already started taking chlorophyll to ... [Continue Reading]
Virtual Vacation: Peru
In which Laura and Karyn and 18 writers explore Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald WalschDear Peru travelers, I’m sitting in my office chair this morning, going though all my teaching files thinking about what I want to teach you. I’m preparing your handouts, looking at poems, readings, prompts and class ideas. This means we’re getting close. And my suitcase is 3/4 packed. I know you that you are probably all where I am—freaking out about how much you ... [Continue Reading]
A two hour drive to San Francisco, a flight to Mexico City, a overnight flight to Lima and a morning flight to Cusco and an hour and half drive into the magic of the Sacred Valley—and we’re here!
This morning before breakfast, Gonzalo led me into the main yoga studio where Karyn will be teaching morning yoga and I will be holding our writing circles. The space is round like a giant yurt, but is called a molloka. I set my things in the corner and sat on the striped mat Gonzalo set out for me. In the front of the molloka was an array of instruments—gongs, singing bowls, digeridos, drums, and others I didn’t recognize and couldn’t name. Gonzalo asked if I had any intention for the healing session. I said I wanted to release the folks from the last retreat—and the last retreat—and to open myself to these mountains and this terrain and the spirit of this Sacred Valley so I can best be of service to the next group, arriving just a few days from now. Gonzalo asked if he could place ... [Continue Reading]
It was time to get a little exercise and test my lungs and legs this afternoon at 9000 feet and so I braved a tiny drizzle in my hiking sneakers, a pair of jeans, a scarf, a sweater and a light raincoat. I focused on all the textures I saw along the way because I don’t know enough yet to understand what I’m seeing. Come on a tour of my neighborhood with me! I took this picture to orient myself to the turn back to Sach’a Munay. Turn left here and I’m home! I always love exploring the local cemetery. A lovely example of the brickwork you see everywhere. A little market? It was closed. I was tempted by this aluminum gate but a couple of barking dogs quickly convinced me otherwise. Unfortunately, the influence of first world junk ... [Continue Reading]
Yesterday I went on a morning walk through the neighborhood around Sach’a Munay and I shared it here with you through photos of my journey. This morning, I decided to head out in the same direction, but this time I wanted to take the walk as a writer. This is one of the first skills I’ll be teaching my students when they arrive here on Wednesday—how to walk through the world as a writer, rather than just as a garden variety tourist. The first step in traveling as a writer is to go out alone (or if you go out with a partner, to go in silence and to not stick too closely together) and to bring a small hand-size notebook. These notebooks are the very first gift I give my writing students on the first day of any Write, Travel, Transform trip. They’re back pocket size, purse size, ... [Continue Reading]
Two days in and we’re getting over our altitude adjustment. What a beautiful hike and we had perfect hiking weather. The hard part. The path back to dinner at Sach’a Munay. ... [Continue Reading]
Brenda and Karyn and I, and the phenomenal staff at Sach’a Munay, spent the entire day on last minute preparations for our guests who arrive tomorrow. We’ve gone over room assignments, menu plans, and the arrangements needed for each day of our itinerary. We’ve tweaked here and tweaked there. I watched the writing room come into being before my eyes. The malloka that will be our yoga room has been swept and mopped. The yoga props have been stacked in neat piles. Each bedroom has been cleaned and refreshed.
What I love about staying in eco-lodges—and I do stay in them as much as I can in my travels—is the relationship the lodge has with the extended community. Late this afternoon, when we went into the yoga room to see if it was all clean, we could see that the floor still needed to be swept and mopped. Then we noticed in the corner (although there really is no corner in that sacred room—it’s round) a small pile of boxing gloves. We didn’t know why they were there, and without thinking anymore about it, we went off to yet another delicious dinner. It was just the two of us in the big dining room.